CoR calls for stable SME support beyond 2020
The members of the European Committee of the Regions (Co) have called for ensuring predictable and stable support for SMEs in the new programming period (2021-2027) in an opinion adopted during the CoR's plenary session on 31 January 2018 in Brussels.
The opinion focuses on the COSME programme, which runs from 2014 to 2020 and is the European Commission's main instrument supporting SMEs, with a budget of EUR 2.3 billion, but also refers to other instruments that provide SME support measures, such as Horizon 2020. The opinion calls for strengthening regional and local business environments and wide-ranging support in the area of access to finance, or in the creation of jobs in SMEs and micro-enterprises.
A further suggestion is to increase the threshold above which an SME has to verify whether it is ineligible for financing under Horizon 2020 from EUR 150 000 to EUR 500 000, and making the current loan maturity of 1-10 years more flexible. According to the CoR, it is important that synergies and transparency between different EU instruments supporting SMEs are improved in the next programming period, offering single contact points providing information and access to all relevant instruments. The opinion also commends the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) initiative, which is co-funded under the COSME programme and provides advice to European SMEs that want to develop, innovate and expand across national and EU borders. The CoR calls for continuing, extending and upgrading the EEN in the next programming period.
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